I just returned from an out of town/state wedding this weekend. I wasnt able to go to the game or read any of the print media leading up to Sunday's Game, but when I read Bob Kravitz's editorial on the Polian's yesterday I was happy that finally a legitimate media figure is calling the Polian's to task for the debacle Colts fans are being forced to endure this season. Whether anyone agrees with Kravitz's assessments and/or his conclusions, his points regarding the Polian's did manage to paint a huge bullseye directly on his forehead and he will not be forgiven by the Polian's anytime soon. I dont always care for all of Bob Kravitz's editiorials, but I do believe he is a seasoned and responsible journalist who would not fabricate facts in order to support some preconceived conclusion regarding the Polian's. Kravitz stated very clearly in his editorial that he could not disclose his sources because "many have non-disclosure agreements and fear public comment will hurt their NFL job prospects" (which is very convenient for the Polian's) but then he goes on to name specific individuals who were huge contributors to the Colts success over the last decade that are no longer with the organization. Kravitz even went further by drawing direct lines between the unusual circumstances surrounding the departures of those individuals from the Colts and the quality of the Colts drafts and the level of play on the field over the past several years. Place all of that along side the timeline of Chris Polian's assension within the organization and there are not too many other conclusions anyone can come too other than what was laid out in Kravitz's editorial.
There are some that are defending the Polians and chastizing Bob Kravitz for fabricating facts to conveniently support his conclusions based on unnamed sources, so lets forget about the "He Said - She Said" for a minute or two and consider the following: For the past several years, many experts, amateurs and fans have been baffled by the draft selections the Colts were making. They let go of great linemen like Jake Scott, and Ryan Lilja while drafting busts like Ugoh, and Pitcock. And what about the nasty comment from Polian regarding the O-line after the SB loss to New Orleans. Its as though he had just come to the conclusion that our O-line sucked even though the Colts were one of the worst running teams in the NFL for the past 5 seasons. After blaming the O-line for the SB loss, what did Bill do in the off season to fix it? He cut Ryan Lilja one of the solid performers on the O-line for medical reasons (which we all know is BS) because the Chiefs picked him up 8 days later. Lilja went on to have an incredible season for the Chiefs last season. How did the Polians choose to fill the void on the O-line, they picked none other than Jerry Hughes (DT) in the first round passing on Roger Safold a stand out Tackle from Indiana. They also ignored the O-line even more by selecting Pat Angerer (LB) in round 2, Kevin Thomas (CB) in Round 3 and finally picked Jacques McLendon (G) in round 4 who is now playing for the Lions. I understand Bill Polian has his reasons for doing what he does, but he never offers explanations for those reasons, only complaints and angry rehtoric for people questioning his decisions. I dont think its unfair or disrespectful for Colts fans (the ones who buy tickets, pay for concessions, jerseys, etc....) or members of the media to question decisons like cutting a solid offensive lineman like Lilja then making absolutely no move in the draft or free agency to fill the void on the line. Colts fans have the right to legitimately wonder what might have been if Lilja wasnt cut and the Colts went on to draft Safold (which every other football expert that isnt named Polian expected the Colts to do). Would Manning have spent most of last season running for his life? Would we all be wondering if Manning will ever play another down of football again? Would we be 0-9 today? Its hard to say, but these and many other questions are legitimate and Mr Polian should at least be willing to face the loyal fans asking them and provide some explanation for why he seemingly igonred the obvious over the past 5 years.
Another example one might consider regarding the competence of the Polians would be to question why Jerry Hughes is still on the roster? He is clearly not capable of being a Defensive Tackle at this level. Same question could be asked about Anthony Gonzalez. If they had no intention of playing him, or throwing to him on the rare occaision he is on the field, then why waste a roster spot on him? There are many others that baffle the mind too, like keeping Lacey while releasing Tryon, or why Donald Brown is still around and dont get me started on Special Teams play. Are these examples just a fluke, or is it a stubborn and arrogant man trying to prove he is right and anyone who dares to question his judgement is wrong?
Since 2007 I had been questioning draft choices and off season moves, but it wasnt until Bill Polian blew up at fans during his radio call-in show the night after the Colts intentionally pulled the starters out of a game we were winning during what was up to that point, a perfect season that I stopped being a fan of his. His rants that night were demeaning and downright insulting. Polian lost a lot more than his temper that night, he lost any respect I had for him up to that point, and I believe that is the way a lot of other Colts fans feel too. If the Polian's are going to take credit for all of the success of the past decade, then shouldnt they also accept accountability for the complete collapse this season? As for Bob Kravitz, he knew this editorial would not be popular with the Colts front office and he would certainly be risking his access to the Colts organization, players and coaches for future articles and editorials, but he is the first person in the media to finally question the competence of the Polian's, and for that he has my admiration and respect.